W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > February 2001

Re: Table Validation

From: Nick Kew <nick@webthing.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 08:43:04 +0000 (GMT)
To: www-validator@w3.org
cc: Marty Tillinger <marty@tillinger.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.21.0102270800350.475-100000@fenris.webthing.com>
> On 21.02.01 at 19:56, Marty Tillinger <marty@tillinger.com> wrote:
> >I've used http://validator.w3.org/ to help me get web pages right, but 
> >found some cases where there were display problems, but the validator 
> >showed no problems.
> The Validator doesn't care about "display"; it has no concept of the term.

True.  There are two related but distinct tasks: validation to a standard,
and ad-hoc tests against known or likely browser issues.

> What it does do is check the syntax strictly and accurately against the
> defined syntax that is valid for (X)HTML.
> >I then found  www.doctor-html.com. It checks for tables to have matching
> >elements with proper nesting. td /td, tr, /tr, etc.It reports on structure
> >much better as well as browser compatibility.

That can't be right???   That URL is nothing but a meta refresh, whose
markup betrays a total lack of clues.  Could this be some private
person's site on a virtual host lacking a half-competent admin?

Anyway, I'll proceed based on your description of a service.

The particular check you mention (requiring explicit </td> and </tr>
and similar cases) can indeed be checked by a validator, simply by
substituting a DTD that requires closure.  Arguably the failure of
W3C's HTML 4 DTDs to do so is a defect in the standard:
  (1) There are no concievable problems with upgrading the DTD
  (2) In view of known browser issues, there would be a positive
      benefit to requiring closures.

Bearing this in mind, you might be interested to look at the WDG DTD
<URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/design/dtd/>.  You can use it with any
of the online validators including the W3C one, and the Page Valet
offers an option to use it explicitly.

Using XHTML would accomplish essentially the same thing.

> >However, I'm not sure it is as standards-based as your validator.
> It's not. It merely checks against some random programmers idea of "good
> HTML" (possibly taking into account known deficiencies in browser
> implementations) and not the actual valid syntax of the language.

I'm at a disadvantage, not having seen what you have apparently seen
at doctor-html.  While that comment is true of a number of services -
such as Weblint, Tidy, the Demoroniser, and a range of tools of more
questionable repute than these, it doesn't have to be.

>	 You'll
> want to start by making sure somethig is Valid -- by checking with the W3C
> Validator -- then running it through something like Dr.HTML (including
> looking at it in various browsers etc.), and finally going back to the W3C
> Validator to make sure you haven't introduced any syntax errors in the
> interval.

But the appropriate DTD will do both at once!

> >I'd like to see you add the checking of matching end tags and the proper
> >nesting of tags as part of the validator.

> add such a feature would impose _our_ arbitrary standards of "good" HTML
> without a solid, objective, measure to compare it to.

That's the crux of it.  But for certain limited tasks including
enforcement of closing tags under discussion, we _can_ superimpose our
own standards without risk of breaking the W3C published specs.

> >It also checks for missing images.
> This, OTOH, could be added in some future version (it's on the TODO).

More useful to check all links - other pages and embedded content such
as stylesheets, scripts, applets, objects, frames etc as well as images.
Site Valet integrates that with validation.

Nick Kew

Is your site a lawsuit waiting to happen?
See <URL:http://valet.webthing.com/intranet/> before it's too late.
Received on Tuesday, 27 February 2001 04:36:50 UTC

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